...so you've probably heard that Batman v Superman is a bit of a mess.
It seems unfathomable that a movie starring the world's two greatest superheroes going against one another is getting savaged by the critics and fans of the world.
There had been rumours of this, and scoops and whatnots, but the world was determined to ignore all that and chalk it up to Marvel buying critics.
Looks like all the worrying rumours were right. All of them.
Batman v Superman is a big, CGI driven, mind numbing mess and nobody's laughing now.
Yep, none of this is actually any good.
While the movie has its inherent flaws (which I will definitely discuss in another long post), the common theme seems to that the movie is so concerned with setting up future instalments that it's sacrificed its own quality.
Stop me if I'm wrong, but haven't we heard this before? Repeatedly?
Does no one remember the trainwreck The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had no right to be half as terrible as it actually was.
Most people judge the reboot too harshly. I'd like to confess I'm not one of them. I actually thought it was a good idea to have a different spin on Peter Parker and reinvent him for the Tumblr generation. The first movie underwhelmed me, but it had bright spots. Andrew Garfield was really cool, his chemistry with Emma Stone seemed organic and we had characters we could invest in. The movie did suffer from a messy plot (does anyone actually want all that backstory surrounding Peter's parents and the subsequent connotations to Peter's origins?) and a forgettable villain but it got the essence right and I was genuinely excited for the sequel to see what they can do.
...and then they had to build a Spider-Man Universe.
I think this is one of the many things I'll always hate Marvel for, they forced everyone else to make a shared universe to compete with theirs.
What everyone forgets, is the groundwork Marvel had to lay for The Avengers to happen and the strict quality control Kevin Feige maintained over anything with a Marvel logo.
When the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out, it seemed genuinely interesting, but as they kept releasing more marketing material, it became evident that they're giving away the entire movie, and the entire movie wasn't the fun romp we were being promised, but a setup for future instalments.
As expected, the film turned out to be less than ideal. There were so many things the film did right - excellent CGI, great characterization, that ending, Dane DeHaan's performance - but there was one major flaw that overpowered all those positives - overstuffing.
Instead of trying to be a truly great sequel, the film tried to be a launch pad for Sinister Six while simultaneously juggling the storyline the first part set up. Perhaps Sony forced director Marc Webb to alter his plans, or perhaps he did it on his own accord, but the truth remains that the overstuffing of the film ruined it and we were left with an incoherent mess that had hardly the impact it should have, critically or commercially.
As a result, Sony had to cancel their whole plans and reboot the franchise yet again by handing Marvel the license to use Spider-Man in their upcoming Civil War.
That should have served as a lesson to studios, but it didn't. Age of Ultron had to make the same mistake the next summer.
You'd assume a movie with all these people be a doozy, but it was anything but that.
Age of Ultron came on the back of sky-high expectations. The marketing materials seemed rad, the preceding The Winter Soldier had been a benchmark buster and every sign pointed to the film surpassing the greatness of the first film.
...and yet Age of Ultron proves to be the most divisive and least beloved of all the Phase 2 films.
Marvel may have made very few mistakes so far, and overstuffing is one of them.
Iron Man 2 suffered because of that, and while there the whole things was relatively in check, Age of Ultron showed the real problem that lies with shared universes - they all are so obsessed with setting up future instalments that they don't care for the movie we're watching.
Age of Ultron tried to cram so many subplots and Infinity War and Ragnarok teases that the whole thing felt haphazardly assembled. Things didn't have to make sense, they just happened so we could get to the next CGI set-piece. Age of Ultron was never outright bad, but it was an outright disappointment.
Many people wondered whether this was the end of Marvel, but they thankfully bounced back with a refreshingly standalone and different Ant-Man.
It would seem they've learned their lesson because Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers have promised that Civil War will remain the movie it is and not become a glorified trailer for the future movies.
...which brings us back to the main question.
What should DC do in this situation they're finding themselves in? Perhaps there's nothing to be done and their best bet is to go as per their schedule. We can hope they learn from their mistakes and make sure their upcoming films meet a certain quality standard and remain fun standalone adventures while being a part of the world they're so clearly determined to be rooted in.
If Wonder Woman, Justice League Pt. 1&2 and Aquaman are great movies, then perhaps the world will forget about Batman v Superman.
In the meantime, studios need to finally get 3 things through their head:
1. Stop with the rushed world-building. We get that you want to take on Marvel and rake in the money, but stop giving us sub-par movies. You keep doing that long enough and you won't have audience to show your payoff movies to.
2. Stop announcing 10 years worth of movies at the same time. I blame Marvel for this trend. I don't want to know what movie is coming out in 2076, goddamnit. Doing that just lowers the stakes of event films because then you know which character is going to survive and what not.
3. For the love of God, stop relying on CGI so much that it becomes numbing. CGI is a tool, not a movie making technique! Have you learnt nothing from the Star Wars prequels?
Maybe I'm the only one who wants these things, but as a passionate fan of all things pop-culture, it's frustrating to have to wait for a beloved property for years and then to have it fail because of corporate greed.
What? Somebody had to say it out loud.
Because if everyone was, I don't think we'd be still getting the same thing over and over again.
After all, even Samsung had to change when enough people lampooned their software, these are still movie studios we're talking about.
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If you want more commentary, do check out my thoughts on what makes Kilgrave the greatest villain in the MCU.